House of Commons launches £6m security push for MPs to get close protection officers and guards at homes, offices and surgeries after killing of Sir David Amess
- EXCLUSIVE: Parliament is planning to spend £6m on close protection for MPs
- Security has been bolstered following the killing of Tory veteran David Amess
- Fears that momes, offices and surgeries for constituents could be vulnerable
MPs are set to get guards at homes, offices and surgeries as part of a big security push after after the killing of Sir David Amess.
Parliament has put out a contract to recruit close protection officers and ‘door supervisors’ in a bid to minimise the risk of further attacks.
The spend on the measures over the next five years is estimated at £6million including VAT – suggesting that dozens are expected to get the bolstered precautions.
Fears over MPs’ safety have been rising for years, with Jo Cox murdered in her Batley & Spen constituency in 2016 and Sir David stabbed to death in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex last year.
The tender document seen by MailOnline said: ‘The Authority is seeking to appoint a Contractor will provide physical security services on behalf of UK Parliament, including SIA Licensed Close Protection Officers and SIA Licensed Door Supervisors.
‘The Contractor will also implement a booking platform allowing a single point of contact for all service bookings.’
Parliament has put out a contract to recruit close protection officers and ‘door supervisors’ in a bid to minimise the risk of further attacksin constituencies
Fears over MPs’ safety have been rising for years, with Jo Cox (right) murdered in her Batley & Spen constituency in 2016 and David Amess (left) stabbed to death in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex last year
Even before the murder of Jo Cox in 2016 concern was growing over the threat to MPs away from Parliament.
Improvements were championed by Sir Lindsay Hoyle during his time as Deputy Speaker, and he has continued the drive since taking over from John Bercow.
Every politician is given a security assessment, and they get a ‘standard’ package such as alarm systems, shutters, CCTV and personal alarms for staff.
If the police deem it necessary MPs can also access ‘enhanced’ measures.
However, it is thought that has rarely included guards up to now. Sources said the Parliamentary contract was an effort to make the provision less ‘ad hoc’.
It could also help address concerns that surgeries are vulnerable because they can happen at churches or other buildings, rather than secured offices.
There are hopes using security guards rather than police will be less likely to turn off needy constituents who are suspicious of authority, or have legal problems.
Senior MPs said they were not convinced the spend would reach £6million over the five years, with many politicians wary of putting obstacles between themselves and the public.
Others have yet to return to face-to-face surgeries after the Covid pandemic and attack on Sir David.
The spend on the measures over the next five years is estimated at £6million including VAT
Tory MP Mark Francois, a close friend of Sir David, said it was crucial that MPs struck a balance between contact with voters and safety.
‘Following the tragic murder of my great friend, Sir David Amess, it’s sad that we now have to contemplate security measures like this, as the potential downside is it could deter some constituents from seeing their MP,’ he told MailOnline.
‘In the end this will be a personal decision for MPs and their families but, either way, we cannot allow terrorists to break the link between MPs and their constituents, which is fundamental to the British Parliamentary system.’
Source: Read Full Article